SAGE, RIO and REDINGTON rep Mark Shelton swung by last week to let us check out some of the new goodies going to be offered up this year.

Out of his truck came the new 4-piece replacement for the TXL, an exciting (if you are an XP fan) new mid-price rod, and a very cool new reel. Mark also unloaded a whole bunch of new Fishpond gear, too much to mention here but let me say its slick.

I confess to one major error though, I keep forgetting my cell phone has a camera or I’d have taken some pictures.

But here is some thoughts.

TXL-F: We have been a big wrap on the TXL’s for years for their crisp precise casting and plenty of feel, and tippet protection. But the 3-piece was a downer for backcountry hikers etc, hence the new 4-piece versions, which will pack down to almost nothing.  The blanks are darker now, perhaps dark bronze might be a good term, that should look especially trick with the new Click Reels.

The first thing you will notice in the hand is the new slimline grips, which together with “micro-ferrule technology” and ultra-lite guide package, mean the rod is 33% lighter than its predecessors. Mark lined me up the 4wt, the heaviest of this lightweight group.

Its definately a little stiffer than the TXL, though by no means a broomstick, its definately crisp, and accurate. Linespeed and tightloops deliver that accuracy, yet like the TXL the new rods can protect light tippets.

VXP: I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to the name, but at the first swing of the 4wt I felt something familiar. The shortline (10′ out of the tip)  “woodiness” was very much an XP feel. Adding a little more line that favorite action was there. But an XP updated, sgnificantly lighter it feels well crisper and more responsive. There is no doubt this is the quickest and lightest rod in its bracket. $485 to $525 for all bar the two-handers. This rod should be immensely popular with fast action afficianados.

More to come